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Italian Competition Authority shutdown two pharma websites

Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 3, 2020
At its meeting on Friday 27 March 2020, the Authority launched two investigations and ordered the shutdown of the and websites which offered several medicinal products for sale, including Kaletra, without being authorised to supply drugs to the public online.
Website   farmaciamaschile
In particular, Kaletra, an antiviral drug for the treatment of HIV infections, sold on prescription, was advertised as a product with proven effectiveness against coronavirus and offered at a price of about €384 for the small pack or €659 for the large pack.

Topics: Italian pharma

The suspension of this promotion and marketing activity on the websites - carried out with the cooperation of the Italian Finance Police - is motivated by the need to stop the spread of an extremely serious practice, making the Authority’s intervention both urgent and unavoidable.

The offer of medicinal products to the public has been considered prima facie illegal, misleading and aggressive, capable of impairing the consumer's judgement, as the trader is taking advantage of the current health alert.

From the point of view of periculum in mora, the Authority recognised the offence involved in the sale of the medicinal products because it could lead consumers to turn to unauthorised persons for the relative purchase, being convinced of the alleged, but unproven, curative effects of the product Kaletra.

The Authority had adopted a similar measure on 17 March, ordering the website to be shut down with simultaneous suspension of the promotion and marketing of the same drug "Kaletra".

The two measures adopted by the Authority on 27 March 2020, show how the drug "Kaletra", despite the intervention of 17 March 2020, continues to be illegally promoted and sold over the Internet through the services offered by search engines, by inputting the words "Kaletra", "drug", "coronavirus", "Covid-19".

For this reason, the Authority has decided to invite the main search engines to work under the guise of Internet Service Providers to adopt all the measures deemed necessary with respect to websites promoting and/or marketing the drug "Kaletra".

The Authority, in view of the unique current circumstances, is continuing to monitor the market focusing its attention on operators active in e-commerce who adopt improper and misleading behaviour.